Get Up Close and Personal at the Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo has been a family favorite since its opening in 1978. For nearly 40 years, its mission statement has always been to connect people, animals, and nature and promote conservation for future generations of animal lovers. Get up close and personal and check out all the excitement on your next family vacation.

Animals around the World

The Minnesota Zoo is home to more than 2,000 animals from over 500 species of bird, mammal, fish, and reptile. Start your adventure at Discovery Bay, a world-class oceanic exhibit comprised of nearly 1.1 million gallons of water. Floor-to-ceiling glass allows for a completely immersive, underwater experience. Come face-to-face with tiger sharks, sea dragons, monk seals, and more!

Hit the Northern Trail and discover a family of tigers guarding its lair and caribou roaming the hillside. The animals on the Northern Trail – the Bactrian camel, the American Bison, and the Asian wild horse – are right at home in the Minnesota cold. Brown bear, sea otter, leopard, and boar make their home at the Russia’s Grizzly Coast. Kids love the Wells Fargo Family Farm where they can visit with all their favorite farm animals.

Up Close and Personal

Get hands-on with some of your favorite furry friends with the Minnesota Zoo’s Close Encounters Program. Every day throughout the park, guests will encounter zookeepers and various animals currently living at the zoo. It is all a part of the zoo’s mission to connect children with the world of animals through interactive educational programs. The Minnesota Zoo offers programs for all ages and groups.

Aspiring photographers can capture that perfect shot through the zoo’s nature photography program. Bring your family and your yoga pals to Yoga at the Zoo, a monthly fitness session in the heart of your favorite habitat. Nature and horticulture enthusiasts can get off the beaten path with tours geared towards surveying the exotic floral in each habitat.


The Minnesota Zoo is committed to animal and environmental conservation, not just in Minnesota, but around the world. The zoo partners with other zoos through cooperative breeding programs to ensure the survival of endangered species. Staff works side-by-side with the Department of Natural Resources and local restaurants to establish sustainable fishing practices and to protect endangered mussels. Donate your old cell phones to the Recycle for Rainforest program. This program is dedicated to ending the destruction of natural habitats for the purpose of mining resources used in technology.

Planning Your Day

The zoo offers a wide variety of food options from around the world. At the Call of the Wild Food Court, you’ll find something for everyone: barbecue, subs, pizza, smoothies, ice cream, as well as savory vegetarian and reduced-fat options.  Check out the Penguin Cafe and Wild Java for a sweet treat or gourmet coffee. Don’t miss World Tacos, serving your favorite flavors from Mexico, Brazil, and Korea. Guests to the zoo are also allowed to bring their own picnic baskets from home and relax at one of the many picnic areas inside the park.

Are you celebrating a birthday? Enjoy cake with friends, go for a pony ride, or even spend the night with some of your favorite animals! Are you planning a wedding? Have your ceremony and reception at one of three picturesque locations at the zoo. Let the Minnesota Zoo be part of your perfect day!

Family vacations in MN are always a blast. Take a walk on the wild side with a trip to the Minnesota Zoo!